Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A numbers game

Consider the regular season salary cap room remaining for the eight teams left in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs:

  • Boston: $1.584 million
  • Chicago: $336,000
  • Detroit: $1.476 million
  • Montreal: $2.327 million
  • Philadelphia: $2.549 million
  • Pittsburgh: $256,000
  • San Jose: $839,000
  • Vancouver: $1.203 million
Now consider that the Columbus Blue Jackets had $10.144 million in salary cap room left at the end of the regular season.  That's roughly the equivalent of two major star players short against the budgets of the current elite eight.

Sure, Nashville ($12.657 million remaining) and Phoenix ($13.384 million remaining) qualified for the playoffs...and were dispatched in the first round by the big boys.  For "budget teams" like these (and we might as well include Columbus in the mix here), it appears that just making the playoffs should be considered the outcome of a successful season.  Making it to the second round should be cause for ticker tape parades.

(In fact, the magnitude of Phoenix's stretching the series against the Red Wings out to seven games is even bigger when considering the salary disparities.)

The NHL may market itself as a league, but there are vastly different strata of teams in that league.  If you really want to win the Stanley Cup, your odds increase greatly if you are in the highest salary tier.

I'm just sayin'.

[Thanks to NHLNumbers.com for the salary cap figures!]

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